After blaming Israel, Iran says Pakistani carried out suicide attack on troops
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After blaming Israel, Iran says Pakistani carried out suicide attack on troops

Tehran first accused the Jewish state and the Gulf of being behind blast that killed 27 elite soldiers before pointing to armed Sunni group from neighboring Pakistan

Mourners a carry flag-draped casket during a mass funeral for those killed in a suicide car bombing that targeted members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard in Isfahan, killing at least 27 people. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Mourners a carry flag-draped casket during a mass funeral for those killed in a suicide car bombing that targeted members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard in Isfahan, killing at least 27 people. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The suicide bomber that carried out last week’s attack that killed 27 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was a Pakistan national, the force’s Sepah news agency reported on Tuesday.

“The suicide bomber was named Hafez Mohammad-Ali and was from Pakistan,” Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the Guards’ ground forces, was quoted as saying on the sidelines of a commemoration service in Tehran.

Iran had initially accused Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of being behind the attack, but on Sunday it said the bomber was from neighboring Pakistan.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Pakistan’s ambassador on Sunday to protest the attack last Wednesday that also injured 12.

Iranian mourners gather around the coffins of Revolutionary Guards who were killed in a suicide attack, during their funeral in southeastern city of Isfahan on February 16, 2019. (ATTA KENARE/AFP)

Pakistan condemned the bombing and its foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, spoke with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, by phone on Sunday to assure him that Pakistan would fully cooperate in the investigation, according to two government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to brief media.

The militant Sunni group Jaish al-Adl, which claimed responsibility, is believed to operate from havens in neighboring Pakistan.

On Friday, the head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, claimed without providing evidence that the United States and Israel ordered Saudi Arabia and the Emirates to carry out the attack.

The head of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari speaks at a conference in Tehran, Iran, October 31, 2017. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

On Saturday, Jafari switched gears and accused Pakistan’s security forces of supporting the militants and said Iran expects it to “punish” them.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile vowed “revenge for the blood of these martyrs,” in remarks broadcast on state TV over the weekend.

“They cannot escape God’s and Iranian people’s vengeance,” Rouhani said.

Pakistan is closely allied with Saudi Arabia but has tried to maintain a balancing act between Riyadh and Tehran. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began a visit to Pakistan Sunday after delaying his arrival by one day without providing an explanation.

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